Valerie Lovrek (AT)

I did voluntary service from October 2012 until April 2013 for Make Me Smile Kenya. When I came home and people started asking me how it was it was difficult to answer. What I experienced there was not easy to express in a few sentences. It was a wonderful and beautiful time with really difficult moments at once.

There is no specific moment treasured that I can describe right now. It was rather more moments that stood out as I felt the thankfulness of the people, how they welcomed me with open arms and how they, despite their strokes of fate, manage to smile, sing and dance.

For sure there were some challenging moments. I often lay exhausted in my bed in the evenings because of the amount of work or the strokes of fate I saw that day.

I was the only volunteer awhile. On the one hand I loved it but on the other it was difficult sometimes – after all the Western thinking is different from the African way.

However, every challenge was totally worth it and made the beautiful moments even more beautiful. It was not my first voluntary service but definitely my most intense and most beautiful one. MMSK gives you a lot of trust and faith as a volunteer and I never had the feeling to be needless. For me it’s certain: I want to go back!!